Sabor of Puerto Rico at La Cocina Puertorriqueña
Tony Sanchez, chef/owner of La Cocina Puertorriqueña in Pembroke Pines, is from the Dominican Republic, not Puerto Rico. But his wife is. And she has taught him to make dishes beloved by the neighboring Puerto Rican community, like mofongo, alcapurrias and tembleque. He has learned to make these traditional dishes with lots of love, respect … and flavor: “A los Puertorriqueños hay que darle mucho sabor. Si no le das mucho sabor, no lo aceptan.” “You have to give Puerto Ricans a lot of flavor. If you don’t give it a lot of flavor, they won’t accept it.”
Plato Boriqua (left) is a typical holiday dish in Puerto Rico, but the restaurant serves it year round. Made of pernil (pork), arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) and a pastel puertorriqueño, made from masa de guineos verdes (mashed green bananas) and carne de cerdo (pork) The mix is ground, seasoned, wrapped in banana leaves and in a paper specially made for pasteles, and boiled.
Mofongo (right) is made of plátanos (plantains) fried with chicharrones (fried pork rinds) and garlic, all mixed and shaped into a ball and usually served with a sauce or broth on the side.